Having refused three million Chinese vaccines under the international COVAX scheme, North Korea has asked UNICEF to send them to those more in need, the UN said.
One of the first to react to the spread of the coronavirus, this Asian country literally fenced off from the whole world and imposed strict restrictions, fearing that Covid would get from neighboring China. According to the statements of the North Korean authorities, so far not a single case of infection has been detected in the country.
The UN agency UNICEF reports that Pyongyang has rejected Chinese vaccines, demanding distribution to the poorest and most affected countries, where a large number of infections have been reported. North Korea’s health ministry said the rejected vaccines are “moving to hard-hit countries due to the limited global supply of Covid-19 vaccines and a recurring spike in some countries.” Regardless, the authorities said they would “continue to communicate” with the COVAX scheme regarding receiving the batch of doses “in the coming months.”
The WHO weekly report released on Aug.27 shows that “no case of Covid-19 has been reported” in North Korea, although 37,291 people have been tested with flu symptoms, with negative results. At the same time, the country experienced an economic and “food crisis” due to border restrictions affecting trade and travel with neighboring countries.
The decision to ditch the Chinese doses came months after a previous decision in which North Korea ditched the AstraZeneca batch due to concerns about side effects.